Online selling, digital marketing, social media presence are all buzzwords that have been ever present in the business world over the last few years. The pressure of having an online presence has confused many business owners and deterred many from attempting to go online.
While it may have been possible to avoid going online up to now, the current situation means that you could give your business a better opportunity to survive by being available online. Many businesses with a physical shop are closed for the current and foreseeable period. This means that alternative ways of getting your products to consumers is going to be pivotal to your success. An online strategy does not have to be expensive or overly complicated. If you have not been selling online to date, there are less costly options for you before investing in a big ecommerce website.
Before looking at an online platform, there are a number of areas you need to plan for to ensure a smooth selling process. A brief checklist will ensure you are ready to get your business to an online marketplace.
Once these areas have been considered you can then look at the options available to you for online selling. There are a number of options to choose from but the three most popular options are Facebook, Instagram and Amazon. Each platform offers its own unique advantage, an overview of each one will give you an idea of what would best suit your business.
Marketplace is where people can discover, buy and sell things listed on Facebook. When you sell as a business on Marketplace, you get access to a growing community of active, motivated buyers. With Marketplace, businesses have the opportunity to create and nurture a distribution or revenue channel that can reach this community and support business growth. Businesses benefit from the ability to directly respond to questions or inquiries from interested buyers with the help of Messenger. Unlike many other thirdparty marketplaces and ecommerce platforms, Facebook Marketplace allows businesses to create and manage listings for no additional fee or cost. There may be costs associated with setting up inventory feeds or other services through a partner, but Facebook doesn't charge anything.
Selling on Instagram can be done at different levels. The popular social media platform is all about pictures and allows for the perfect place to showcase products. Posting your products with a good description and all relevant information such as sizes and costs can allow people to simply message you their order. Another option is to use an app like Shopify which can easily integrate with Instagram and allow customers to purchase online. The fees for this are minimal and well worth investing in to compliment your online selling journey.
Amazon is another online platform that offers many benefits to those looking to sell online. For those who may not have storage space to hold stock, you can sign up for ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ which offers storage, packing and shipping services for you. There is also the option to handle all areas yourself, thus reducing any overhead fees. When you are selling on Amazon, you can share the link of the products page across all social media platforms to advertise online. Amazon.co.uk is the site that Irish companies will first use and you can restrict your shipping to Ireland if you are looking to cover the national market initially. The beauty of Amazon is that it allows you the opportunity to grow into the UK market and the European market if you wish. The website displays products in Pound Sterling but allows customers to see the conversion cost before they confirm the purchase. Rates are usually quite competitive and it doesn’t appear to be a deterrent for most Irish shoppers.
These are the three most common ecommerce platforms used by businesses that do not require an expensive website to sell. The common requirement with them is the need for good quality images of your products, clear descriptions and pricing and some perseverance. If this is a new environment for your business, be patient with yourself. It will take you a little bit of time to get used to using these tools. Once you get used to it you will wonder why you didn’t start earlier! If you have further questions, there are decent explainer pages on each of the platforms that can guide you on the setup process. They all include success stories from real businesses that have grown through online selling.